Do you know the best time to put a picture on your Instagram account to receive the most likes? Do you know one picture will get more likes than another picture based upon what's in it? Do you know what time not to post a picture on Instagram because no one will see it or it will get buried in your friends feed?
Than you're just like me.
My brain takes notes on what others think. It recognizes the warm feelings that come from being approved of, it especially recognizes the feelings of being liked. I can't even write this without having to separate the thought, "Do I write what people will like or do I write what I'm processing and working through?"
Like buttons are not a new evil.
But doing, saying, writing, or creating what is liked will not get us to the place we hope. As a matter of fact, living for likes is not brave at all. But we are raising generations who have become aware of their self-worth beside like buttons. The two have never been separate for them. The issue for me is likes are deceiving.
If I follow the "like" trail I get further away from being vulnerable. So, I am trying to keep myself accountable through a couple of tactics:
1. Ship often - The goal is not only to create new things but put them out there for the world to see (Like shipping a product to stores), not for approval but to keep me brave. For me, I have to fight back against my lizard brain and it wants me to play it safe but safe is boring.
2. Dismiss "Likes" - I appreciate those who like my pictures, or blog, or whatever else I create. However, when the amount of likes alters the way I think than I have an issue. I'm no longer being true to myself or my creative nature. I have pushed away the fear recently of things like, "I will wait to post that picture in this window of time so it gets more likes," or "I'm going to write about hot topics in the media because they are more likely to draw readers (A post on Ferguson doesn't make a whole lot of sense on the Creative Leadership blog)."
3. Listen to true voices - I am no longer lending my ear, or my heart for that matter, to anyone who isn't in the arena themselves. Too many people want to give their opinion from the stands when they themselves have nothing at stake. Don't listen to people who don't try and fail. One of the worst voices you can listen to is from someone who's primary concern is safety from criticism or change. I want to be inspired by vulnerable and brave people, not restricted by people who play it safe.
The "Like" is easily seductive. Let's not be a generation chasing likes, instead lets be a generation creating the change we really want in things. It just might be possible in the midst of immense pressure through social media for a group of people to say, "You can like it or not...It might work it might not...Either way, we're brave enough to try."